Here is information on the family from Barbara Lynch, a
descendent of the Malbons, who lives in British Columbia and who has done
extensive research on the family as it existed in England, pre-1700. You will
find it interesting.
Excerpts from Draycot, Walter, History of the Draycots of Staffordshire and
Malbons/Malbanks of Cheshire, also Draycots of Ireland (unpublished, 1936).
Housed in the William Salt Library, Stafford.
[Foreword: History compiled over a period of 26 years, consulted parish
registers and other sources.]
THE MALBEDENC FAMILY
In the course of record searching it was my good fortune to meet with a
descendant, in the male line, of the Staffordshire Draycots. Although
possessed of bundles of parchment documents concerning the family, he, with canny reluctance, permitted but a brief view of them. They will be given to an
established institution after my demise. At present I have no desire to be
publicly quoted and annoyed was his answer to my question regarding their ultimate disposal.
He claimed the family were anciently united with the royal line of Germany
and Egbert of England. Malbedeng, he said, was of distinct German-Saxon
origin though the last syllable deng should be spelled denc or denk.
The surname was derived from a peculiarity of one of my forbears and signifies
continually in doubt, thought, meditation! In other words, being dubious we
consider at length before taking action. Documentary proof settles all arguments, providing the manuscript is genuine. To say it exists is not sufficient so the following must be taken for what it is worth: A certain Alfred, descended from Ethelred II, justiciar and counsellor, son of
another Alfred styled Monachus, received the sobriquet Malbedenc at the
German court in Aachen through the length of time he took to give a decision.
At Trier, where he had an estate, he acted as advisor to Archbishop Poppo for
the restoration of the Cathedral there. He was frequently at the English Court
with his sons, one of whom was Alfred and another William; there were two daughters. Audilicia, a daughter of the house of Vermandois, was his wife. In his old age he entered a monastery.
His son Alfred was also a justiciar, after his father, and travelled much to
and from England in the service of the ecclesiastic authorities. Besides an
estate in Germany he held considerable property in Normandy. (About the year 1068 Alfred Malbedenc granted his lands at Giberville, in Calvados, to the Abbey of Troarn, in the Diocese of Bayeux. Giberville is about five miles from Troarn. Among other places we find him at Bayeux witnessing a document. The Queen of England is present to hear the reading of an agreement between the Abbot of St. Michael and William Pennell (Pagenal) in reference to the Conqueror disposing of the hand of an heiress who holds an honour of the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel, and her husband receiving aids, and suit of court from the men of the honour.
Testifying to the existence of the that day and date in history, Roger de Montgomery, Roger de Beaumont, Humfrey de Bohun, Hubert de Port, Turgis de Tracy, Geoffrey de Say, etc. Alfred signs as AVEREDUS MALBEDENC.
As the name of Malbedenc does not appear on the Battle Abbey Roll we
may presume they did not accompany the Duke William on the trip over the
Channel but waited until affairs were better settled and the journey not so
hazardous! On second thought it might possibly have been a desire not to
participate on the grounds of incurring displeasure among their kinsfolk.
Whatever it was William was true to his surname of Malbedenc, which reminds me of the Asquithian advice of Wait and See!
Answering a distress call from Duke William, who was now established as King
of England, his nephew Hugh Lupus is invited over in 1070 to subdue the
turbulent Welsh in the County of Cheshire. Afraid to go alone he take his cousin William Malbedenc and other cousins, who all have their retainers. We presume they sailed in their own fleet and landed on the banks of the Dee. History has omitted to record this item.
That William Malbedenc was in bad company we can only refer to some
notes taken from Thierry History of the Norman Conquest, Vol. I:
Gerbod, or Gherbaud, the Fleming, the first captain to bear the title
of Earl of Chester. Having too much trouble with the English and the
Welsh he gave up the Earldom in disgust and retired to Flanders.
Hereupon King William gave the honour and territory to Hugh Avranches, son of Richard Gosse, surnamed Hugh de Loup who bore a wolf head painted on his shield. Hugh and his lieutenants conquered Flintshire which became part of the Norman county of Cheshire and built a fortress at Rhuddlan. One of these lieutenants, Robert Avranches, changed his name to Robert de Rhuddlan and
from an opposite fancy Robert de Malpas, governor of another castle
built on a steep hill, gave his own name to this place, which still bears
it.They both, says an ancient historian, made war with ferocity and
shed at pleasure the blood of the Welsh.
It is pleasing to note William Malbedenc name is not included in the above
account, nor any other account, but nevertheless he was near at hand we can be
sure. Some historians were paid to extoll the virtues of men in high laces while the quiet monkish free-lance writer of the day penned the true inside story, which reminds us of the lines of Robert Burns, chield amang ye takin notes an faith he print.
Now for the character of William cousin, Hugh Lupus,taken at large from the pages of the Dictionary of National Biography: Hugh of Avranches, Earl of Chester (ob. 1101), perhaps nephew of William the Conqueror. As Viscount of Avranches he contributed 60 ships for the invasion of England (1066). Received earldom of Chester with Palatine powers in 1071 and lands in 20 shires; faithful to William I in England but supporting his brother Henry in Normandy
[List of manors ceded to William de Malbedenc, as per the Domesday book.] =
In reference to Clayton and Wepre [Flintshire], a footnote states, Probably
the reward for his services in the Welsh campaign that resulted in the addition of Flintshire and part of Denbigh to the Earldom of Chester.
A Mr. Platt, in his History of Nantwich, 1818, speaks of the ancient grandeur
of the castle erected at Nantwich by William Malbedeng, the first Baron, and
describes it as square, surmounted at each angle with turrets. The outer
walls were defended by a moat of considerable breadth, passable only by a drawbridge.
This statement is discounted by Hall who writes, The earliest mention of
Nantwich Castle occurs in an Inquisition, dated 1288 Occasionally in the Cheshire records during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Castle is mentioned.
He [Ranulph, 4th Earl of Chester] attacked the king's [Stephen's] forts
meanwhile building some for his own protection, principally at Lincoln and
Coventry. Here, in ambush, capturing the king's troops; there, in skirmish,
slaying and putting to flight. Gilbert (de Clare) Earl of Herts, hostage for Randolph (Ranulph) his uncle, lay in custody but escapes and joins the insurrection.
It is monstrous,said Stephen, that he, whom from a penniless knight I made an
argulent Earl and to whom I have granted all his hearts desires, should
join my adversaries. Where is faith? Where shame? Let us rise and speedily punish which he did!
During this avaricious and bloodthirsty mess we stare at Ranulph, then at his
barons whose leader Ranulph was! One cannot say definitely what his
attitude was but in any case he had to fight with the others for the tenure of his barony called for that support a pledge for Hugh Malbedenc; and for others who held land for service of a military nature. The monk was the wisest human
William Malbedenc, Hugh's father, received the Barony as a gift without
having to fight for it; though he afterwards did a little skirmishing to please Earl Hugh. It seems Hugh Malbedenc, his son William, and the whole family were forced to take part in the Earl of Chester's wars and whimsical skirmishes. We still have earls and barons today but it is somewhat different!
Matilda's son Henry (II) arrives in England in 1153 with a force of 3,000 to
start another bloody mess. After a few blood-baths Stephen and Henry come to an
agreement. The barons took oath of fealty to Henry. On the 26th October
Stephen died, in the year 1154. It was doubtless a comfort to Stephen to learn of the death of the traitorous Ranulph on December 16th of the previous year. Ranulph, 4th Earl of Chester, died having been poisoned it was said by his
wife Maud in conjunction with William Peveril of the Honour of Peveril
(of the Peak in Derbyshire). In consequence of this act of wickedness and of treason his estates were forfeited to the crown, temp. Hen. II 1155. His treason was the support he gave to King Stephen against the ex Empress Maud, widow of Hen. V of Germany. It will be recalled Hugh Lupus, Earl of C., was also poisoned by his wife. These wives had a reason. So, poor William Peveril another martyr for the public cause!
We may judge Ranulph' soul was of more importance than his character
when we read, Hugh, Earl of Chester (son and heir) and the Countess Matilda his
mother notify the Constable, the Steward, the Justices, the barons,and all their men, that for the absolution of the Lord Earl Ranulf, and for the redemption of his soul and in particular for the harm done to the Bishop and the Church, they have given to Walter (Durant),Bishop of Chester and his successors, and to its mother Church, Stivinghale, with the mill appurtenances of the vil etc. etc.
Testifying: Eustace (fitzJohn), Constable (of Chester), Rob. (de Vostalt,
hereditary ) Steward: William Malbanc; Will Patric; Rob. Banastre;
Thomas de Verdun; Alfred (Aluredus) de Co; Hugh the Falconer. (Ex m. Salt qto. Vol 1924, p. 30-1).
In this document, drawn up between the years 1154 to 1157, appears the
name of William Malbanc Malbedenc, son and heir of Hugh Malbanc, also the
name of Alfred de Combrai or Cambray, a relative of the Malbedenc family.
Geoffrey, a son of Hugh Malbedenc, was an official at the court of the Earl of
Chester; he married Beatrice de Bec, dau. Of Geoffrey de Bec, and had an only
daughter Basilea who married Alfred de Cambray. Their issue were Roger, John,
Peter, and a daughter, Alicia, who married Simon Aldithley, or Touchet. They
were apparently in possession in or at Tattenhall, for Basilea confirms, with
Roger, her son, Baron Malbedenc's grant of tithes at Tattenhall to the Abbey of Chester.
Another son of Hugh's was Philip who married Alice de Aldithley; this branch
of the Malbedencs was granted the manor of Bradley in Cheshire, of which more
A daughter, Beatrice, married John de Beresford of Alstonfield, direct male
line terminating with William Beresford of Esher where his ancient deeds were
seen by me.
Auda, another daughter, though another authority gives Petronilla, married
Robert de Brecy or Bresay who had sons, one of whom, Robert, was called Black
nephew by William the 3rd Baron.
The wife of Hugh, Baron Malbedenc, was Petronilla, a daughter of Peter of
the House of Vermandois.
Third Baron of Wich-Malbanc
Hall, in his History of Nantwich, states: William Malbank, son and heir of
Hugh Malbank and Petronilla, succeeded his father, and was the last of the
Norman Barons of Wich-Malbank in the male line. In the additional MSS. Brit.
Museum No. 6032, p. 94, is a charter of this Baron, granting a salt-pit (i.e.
a wich-house) in Wich-Malbank to the Monastery of Wenlock, Co. Salop, witnessed by Robert, Abbot of Chester &c, who was probably Robert fitzNigel, fourth Abbot
of St. Werburgh, Chester, from 1157 to 1174.
William Malbank confirmed his father=92s charter to Combermere Abbey and
adding donations and privileges thereto. This confirmation charter is printed
in Dr.Ormerod's Cheshire (iii, p. 418 New Edit.) from Harl MSS. 3862, 12, of which the following is a translation:
In the name of the Holy Trinity, I, William Maubanc, being not unmindful of the mercies of God, concede and confirm to my maker, the Lord God Almighty, to Saint Mary, and Saint Michael the Archangel, to all saints and to the monks of Combermere, in smaller alms and whatever my father gave and conceded to them. I grant and confirm freely, peaceably, and honorably, and from all secular
exaction, the site of the Abbey and Church of Combermere; also four carucates of land in Wilkesley and whatever belongs to that manor; and all fields, pastures, water-courses, roads and footpaths in the plain and wood of the said Combermere; and what they shall make in wood and plain, and whatever they shall demand, enclose, or assess, let them have all which may be there, or shall be made there, forever, besides all deer and boars. I also give and grant fully
to them and their successors common of pasture in all my woods and pastures at Stone with their appurtenances, except in my forest of Coole. Also (I give) tithe of my salt and of my manor of Wych, and a tenth of the corrody* of my house. Moreover, I give and grant to the forsaid monks the patronage of the Churches of Acton, Sandon (Staffordshire), Alstonfield (Staffordshire, where John Beresford had married his aunt Beatrice Malbedenc) with a chapel; also, a land in the manor of Dycheley; and the mill of Checkley with all the fishings,
and all their appurtenances in free, pure, and perpetual alms (prob. the village near Draycot le Moors, co. Staffs). The witnesses to these donations and grants are these: Archibald, son of William, William the Chaplain, son of =85 Robert le Praers, Reginald son of Archibald of Malbank, Adam de Audleye, William de Areci (Darcy), Adam Wachet, Robert son of William, Hugh de Draycot (son of Nicholas de Draycot, co. Staffs), Roger de Henhull, William son of
Hunfredi, Richard de Aresci, Clemens, clerk, and many others.
*A corrody is a sum of money or amount of provisions granted for the
maintenance of one of the Abbot=92s servants or dependents; perhaps
for the officiating priest for the time being at the chapel of Nantwich.
Fn. In Doddsworth MSS Vol. xxxi.f.148 (Bod. Lib. Oxford) is an abstract
of an undated charter, in which William Malbanc gives a salt-house in
Wich-Malbanc to Robert le Praers. These being witnesses, Nicholas
son of William (de Malbedenc, later Draycot), Reginald son of
Herchenbald (Archibald?) his steward (dapifero), Henry de Crewe,
Roger son of Odenot (Woodnoth), Adam son of Liulph of Aldithley,
Alured (Alfred) de Cambray, Roger his son, Adam Wachet, Peter
Morbury, Richard le Praers. The impression upon the seal is a Knight
Very little is known of the activities of this 3rd Baron Malbedenc, other
than giving property away to scheming church dignities. Having to do the bidding of his overlord the Earl of Chester it is possible that he went to France in the Earl's retinue to fight for Henry, the hot-headed young prince who took up arms against his father, Henry II; the Earl and his party became prisoners in the strong fortress of Falaise where they languished for a year until finally ransomed. William having to contribute would levy the landholders of his Barony. That was in the year 1174. The Earl was buried at Leek, a stones throw from Draycot le Moors. During long absence from the Barony in the English wars of the former Earl, this William, with his father Hugh, the 2nd Baron, would witness that the whole country was laid waste by the Welsh and that he was present when a successful resistance was made against the invaders at his town of Wich-Malbanc.
William the 3rd and last Baron Malbedenc married Auda, daughter of
Stephen de Beauchamp, Sheriff of Staffordshire. At his death in, or about,
1190, he left no male heir but three daughters living, Philippa, Eleanor, and Auda, between whom the Barony was divided, as Hall states, proved by an Inquisition taken at Chester on Tuesday next after the feast of the Ascension (May 15) in the 16 Edw. I (1288) before Reginald Gray, then Justice of Chester (from 1282-1300) in time of the war in Wales, in order to show what services were due to the King at that time. A copy of this Inquisition in Latin is preserved in Harl. MSS.2115 F.135, of which the following is a translation, reciting that: Dns (Lord) William Malbanc formerly held the whole Barony of Wich-Malbanc; and because he died without male heirs the Barony was
divided amongst (three) daughters in the following manner. The first
daughter (Philippa) had a third part of Wich-Malbanc with a castle of
the same, excepting those lands which the same William gave before
to the Abbey of Combermere; a third part of the manors of Newhall,
Aston-juxta-Hurleston, Acton and Haslington in demesne; a third part
of Coole and Woolstanwood. She had also the homage and services
of the following lordships and vills, namely, Bartumleghe, Crue
(Crewe), Leghton, Aston in Mondrem, Cholmeston, Stoke, Landican;
two parts of Tranmoll, Buyrton, Alvaston, Church Minshull, Wistaston,
Roper, Willaston, White Poole, Norbury, Wirswall, Row Shotwick and
The second daughter (Eleanor) had a third part of Wich-Malbanc,
excepting the lands conceded to the Abbey of Combermere; a third
part of Coole and Woolstanwood; and two parts of the manor of
Newhall, Aston-juxta-Mondrem, and Hurleston and Acton in demesne.
Also she had the homage and services of the lordships and vills
undermentioned, namely, of Becheton, Hassal, Worlaston, Wrenbury,
Chorle, Backford, Monks-Coppenhall, Over-Bebbington; two parts of
Barneston, Badington, Broomhall, Sonde, Alstanton, Bartheton,
Chorlton, Tiverton; and a moiety of Wordhull, the same, with all the
services are now (1288) in the hands of James Audley. And it is known
that Hatherton is in the hundred of Wich-Malbanc, but in which
division of the Barony it has passed is not known. Also Blakenhall,
Checkely, Dudington, Briddesmere, Hunsterton, and Lee, are not in
this Barony but of the Barony of Shipbroke (Vernons) and Kinderton.
The third daughter (Auda) had a third part of Wich-Malbanc,
excepting the lands conceded to the Abbey of Combermere; a third
part of Coole and Woolstanwood; one part of the manors of
Hurleston and Acton; and two parts of Haslington in demesne; she
had also the homage and services of the lordships and vills of
Audlem, Hankelow, Titenlegh, Marbury, Stapelegh, Badelegh,
Fadelegh, Burlond, Edlaston, Barretspoole, Weston, Wydenbury,
Hough, Saunton (Shavington), Walkerton, Church Coppenhall,
Henhull, Alsager; a third part of Cherlton, and Wistaston and Penesby.
Mem. That the aforesaid Barony is held of our lord King (Edw. I) as
Earl of Chester, in capite.
The above description of the property comprising the Barony, extensive
though it was, does not actually convey to us its completeness. There is no
mention of holdings outside Cheshire; and they were considerable in other counties. Hugh de Draycot (formerly Malbedenc) was given a fair-sized estate in Staffordshire while a few miles away at Alstonfield John de Beresford held his lands under Hugh, 2nd Baron Malbedenc; Auda, the widow of William Malbedenc, is noticed by disposing of a burgage at Lichfield.* Further afield is an estate in co. Dorset held by Philip Malbanc (Malbedenc) whose overlord was John Biset, who had married Alice Basset daughter of Philippa Malbedenc the co-heiress of the Barony and Lord Thomas Basset. Sufficient this to show the Barony was of larger dimension than given above.
*Magnum Registrum Album, Wm. S. Soc.
Further proof of the founding of the Hospital of St. Nicholas: An Inquisition
Post Mortem dated 6 Hen.1 (1104-5) recites that William Maubanc, formerly lord and Baron of Nantwich, died seized of the site of St. Nicholas Hospital in
Nantwich, a Hall, and two salt pits with all the lands and perquisites belonging to the said Hospital. These were granted by him to God and to St. Nicholas of the said Hospital in pure and perpetual alms to support a certain priest celebrating Divine Service in the said Hospital for ever (Hall Nantwich).
Though the Barony passed to other families through want of male heirs we
find collateral branches carrying the old name but with changed spelling as
Malbedene, Maubanc, Malbanc, Malbon, etc.
PHILIP de Maubanc was a son of Hugh, 2nd Baron of Wich-Malbanc; he had
a son WILLIAM Malbanc, or, as it is later on, Malbon, who was granted lands in
Cheshire by Joan (daughter of Lady Philippa, co-heiress of the Wich-Malbanc
Barony) who had married Reginald Valletort. Their descendants the Malbons
paid a chief rent for the gift of lands at Bradeley in the township of Haslington, Cheshire.
William had a son THOMAS MALBON, the first so named of any of the Malbons, evidently christened so after Thomas Basset, Joan=92s father. He was succeeded by a son WILLIAM MALBON, who as an esquire served in the wars with his brother or cousin, Ralph. His son and heir was THOMAS MALBON who, in Richard II time was outlawed several times but when Henry Bolingbroke succeeded as Henry IV, on 30th September, 1399 we find him as a Justice of the Peace. When Hen. IV became king great fear and anxiety prevailed amongst Cheshire people, states Hall, on account of their adherence to the deposed King, and from the fact that lawless bands of armed men had committed great robberies and murders in the adjacent counties of Salop, Stafford, and Derby. But one of the first acts of King Henry was the granting of a general pardon to his subjects in this county. By commission dated 23rd January, 1399-1400, the following Justices of the Peace for Nantwich Hundred, namely:- John de Delves, Richard le Vernon, Thomas de Fouleshurst of Edlaston, Thomas le Maistresson of Nantwich, Richard le Mascy del Hogh (of Hough), William de Beeston, William de Crue of Sond, THOMAS MALBON, Thomas Daukynson, Richard son of Roger de Cholmondeley, Hugh del Malpas, David le Seintpere, John de Kingeslegh, Richard de Roope and David le Crue of Pulcroft, were to make proclamation of pardon to all those who had through fear joined the rebels, on their returning to their homes; and also that poor people should not be frightened. Thomas was murdered by Nicholas Parker, Robert Swinerton and other cut-throats that appeared to be well-practised in that art at this period. They were indicted by his widow Ellen. In all probability they would be pardoned for the offence after appealing to the King or they would abdure the country. His death occurred in 1408-9 and a writ de melius inquirendo of the Earl to the Escheator says that the Prince (as Earl) was informed that the said Thomas died seized of many more lands and tenements in the county than the one messuage, 20 acres of land, 1 acre of meadow, one water mill in Haslington, which he held of Richard, son of Richard de Vernon of Shipbroke, a minor, and which were of the yearly value of four marks, etc. (Hall) The murderers of Thomas Malbon, I take it, were
Staffordshire men. A Nicholas Parker was a pensioner of Edmund, Earl of Stafford in the year 1404 and John Parker was one of the Earl=92s esquires in 1400. The Swynnertons were of Swynnerton in Staffs also. Feuds were rife. Every man carried a sword or dagger, or both, for his personal protection; for such were =93the good old days! By his wife Ellen this Thomas had sons William and Richard.
WILLIAM MALBON succeeded his father, and apparently the family had been
up to something for they figure in the Recog. Rolls of the year 1408-9 as
grantees of a pardon.
WILLIAM MALBON appears as a son of the above and next in descent and
his name occurs in 1475 as a co-surety for Sir Robert Fouleshurst.
Incidentally Robert Fouleshurst, esq., held one part of the Barony of Wich-Malbanc in 1487-8. It was apparently this William, states Hall, who was present as a juror at Wistaston Church in 1466 when =93proof of age=94 of John Bruen was taken. William had issue Thomas, John, Ralph, and a daughter, Agnes.
RALPH MALBON succeeded and in 1497-8 (Ormerod) is granted by deed of
Nicholas Chirche and Robert Hayfield, chaplains, all the lands in Haslington,
or elsewhere in the County, in tail, which they had of the gift of William Malbon in tail male remainder to Agnes, daughter to the said William Malbon, in tail. If this pedigree is correct, then Ralph married late in life to have a son George.
In the Subsidy Roll of the Township of Haslington, in which Bradeley is
situated, dated 1545, Ralph Malbon is mentioned as assessed at 14s. for goods
valued at 8 pounds sterling. One may conjecture the Malbons were shrewd and
never put all their eggs in one basket. The Escheator and the Tax-gatherer
were men whom all preferred to give a wide berth if at all possible. There were no municipal offices where records were kept. The owner personally possessing a parchment personally possessed his land, and the right to it.
This evasion scheme is better understood by an excerpt from Gibbins
Industrial Hist. Of Eng., p. 73:
Effects of the Plague (1348): The fact that the larger land-owners
found the cost of working their land doubled or even trebled caused
important economic changes. Before the Plague the cost of
harvesting upon an ordinary estate, quoted by Professor Rogers, was
3.13s.9d.: afterwards it rose to 12.19s.10d. Moreover, the landlord had
to consent to receive lower rents, for many tenants could not work
their farms profitably with the old rents, and the new prices for labour
and implements. And, as rent is paid out of the profits of agriculture,
it was obvious even to the landlord that smaller profits meant lower
If Thomas held more land than he is credited with it is likely that he found
it more profitable to allow his brothers, or immediate family to take over
sections as tenant farmers. Apparently this was done in one case. It was at this period that the tenant farmer or yeoman class came into being. The fact that Thomas and his predecessors bore the rank of gentleman or esquire by virtue of being a J.P. mattered little to them. In the matter of land wealth or the accumulation of large land holdings they evidently did not seek for anything greater than they had all through the centuries. Perhaps their ambition was deadened by the responsibilities attached. Gentlemen though they were by right of birth they never aspired to anything more expansive than the privilege of holding and operating an ordinary-sized farm. Right down to the end of their main line and its ultimate extinction for want of male issue we find their status quo always the same. At least one can give them the credit of being consistent!
Pre-1700 Part 2
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